The breakdown of a marriage can be very upsetting and, at times, a stressful experience. Difficulties can often arise in relation to issues over children or the division of assets but no matter how daunting or stressful the thought of the process may be, Oi-Yuyn Wong and Helen Clarkson are here to support and guide you throughout the proceedings.
To obtain a divorce in England and Wales, the husband and wife must have been married for one year and one party must have lived in England and Wales during the last year leading up to commencing the divorce proceedings.
The person who makes the application is called the Petitioner and the other person is called the Respondent. The Petitioner must prove to the court that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down”, this is the sole ground for divorce. However, there must be a reason for why the marriage has irretrievably broken down and under current law, the law stipulates that the Petitioner must demonstrate one of the five facts as follows:-
(a) The Respondent has committed adultery and the Petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the Respondent;
(b) Behaviour by the Respondent which means that the Petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the Respondent
(c) The parties have separated for a period of 2 years and the Respondent consents to the divorce
(d) The parties have separated for a period of 5 years and the Respondent does not consent to a divorce
(e) Desertion of the Petitioner by the Respondent for a period of 2 years
There is other information which must be inserted into the Petition, such as where the parties live and details of any children. The Petitioner may decide to request a costs order from the court against the Respondent or Co-Respondent (if cited within an adultery Petition). In any event, it is important and good practice to send a copy of the Petition to the Respondent prior to sending it to the court in the interest of cooperation between the parties.
Other important documents which must be submitted to the court along with the Petition include the Marriage Certificate, which must be the original. A Statement of Arrangements for the children which sets out basic information regarding any child of the family, such as who they live with, the contact they will have with the other parent and details of their education. Lastly copies of these documents are sent to the court to be issued along with a fee (disbursement) which is currently £550. This fee also covers the Decree Absolute stage. The court will issue the Petition and serve a copy of the Petition and Statement of Arrangements (if applicable) on the Respondent who has to acknowledge receipt of the Petition. Sometimes there are problems with serving divorce papers; however, Oi-Yuyn can discuss options regarding service should these problems arise.
Once the Respondent has either acknowledged the Petition or service has been proven by the Petitioner, the Petitioner must send to the court an Statement in Support of their Petition and sign a Declaration of Truth confirming that the contents within the Petition and supporting documents are true. A District Judge will check all of the documents to make sure that the Petitioner is entitled to a divorce and providing the Judge is satisfied, he or she will grant a Certificate of Entitlement to a Decree. There are occasions when a Judge is not satisfied, on such occasions the Judge may ask for further evidence or questions to be answered. Once the Judge is satisfied that the Petitioner is entitled to a divorce, the court will fix a date for the pronouncement of a Decree Nisi. Six weeks and one day after the pronouncement of a Decree Nisi, the Petitioner can apply for a Decree Absolute. It is the Decree Absolute which dissolves the marriage. However, it is important that the Decree Absolute is not applied for if there are any divorce financial issues are outstanding.
For further information please contact Oi-Yuyn Wong or Helen Clarkson on 01329 232314 or email@example.com
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